Seven Important Reminders for All the Dreamers Out There
*Image by the lovely Meri Daugherty
The dream pursuit is hard work, but it is necessary work.
We are each born with specific desires, strengths, and dreams in our heart, and it is up to us to pursue them. In fact, it is our responsibility to pursue them not only for our own fulfillment and joy, but for the world around us. When we show up to pursue our dreams and use our gifts, we create space for others to show up for theirs. It’s a ripple effect. And a very powerful one at that.
I’ve spent so much time and energy on pursuing my own dreams. I know the struggles and hardships that arise throughout the journey, but I also know that it’s worth it. I’m so thankful and honored that I get to pursue my dreams and do what I love every single day for a living, but it hasn’t always been that way. It hasn’t been easy, and it didn’t come overnight. But it did happen over time. And I want to share some really important reminders for you: the dreamer, visionary, and hopeful heart in your journey towards your big dreams. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be worth it.
1. Invest in Education
While you don’t have to possess a degree to achieve your dream, they sure do help in getting jobs that pay the bills while you chase your dreams. I worked to put myself through college to get a business degree in my twenties and worked full time during graduate school to get my MBA in my thirties. My encouragement to you is to get as much education as early as possible. Life gets more complex with marriage and children so it’s easier to knock it out earlier on. Study what you love and borrow as little as possible so you aren’t burdened with a ton of debt later on.
2. Do What Needs to Get Done
While growing up, my parents were building their businesses so there wasn’t a lot of disposable income to buy new shoes, clothing or other fun stuff. But what it did do was teach me to work for what I wanted and not to rely on anyone to hand it to me. I started babysitting when I was 13 and scooping ice cream at 15 so that I could make money to pay for the things I wanted or needed. That attitude carried on with me through life. You do what you need to do to get it done. I was promoted often during my corporate years because I was willing to work and do what needed to be done. “That’s not my job” should never come out of your mouth. Even today I find myself doing things that I wish I wasn’t, but I remember my employees see leadership by example.
3. Stay Focused
Don’t have your dream job right now? That’s okay. I wasn’t even sure what mine was until my late 20’s. I just knew what I was really passionate about, which was marketing, apparel, and fashion. Every job was a stepping stone and while I hated some of them along the way, I realize today that I couldn’t do what I do today without that experience. Now that I’m in my early forties, I’ve been self employed for a few years now with a marketing agency and apparel brand called Righteous Threads. Neither of these would have happened without a lot of 12-14 hour days and the ability to stay laser focused on my dreams. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to if you stay focused and are willing to put in the work.
4. Success and Failure Come Hand in Hand
Albert Einstein once said “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” I don’t know anyone personally that achieved their dream without failing first. And if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. While failing is painful and humbling, it allows you to mature as a person and gain valuable insights! One of my earliest jobs was purely analytical for a multi-million dollar apparel company. I was miserable. I went home and cried at night off and on for the first six months. It wasn’t fun. And it definitely wasn’t inspiring and creative. However, it taught me an unbelievable amount about business and inventory management, which I use all the time today. I’ve now been a part of another start up that we couldn’t get off the ground and failed. And unfortunately, I lost quite a bit of money. But I gained a lot of valuable experience through it, which couldn’t have come from a text book. Not all of your ideas are going to be successful. But that’s okay. Keep trying until you have one that is successful.
5. Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses
As you mature in your profession of choice, try to become as self-aware as possible. This happens through education, mentors, and courses you can take as a professional. It’s much easier to achieve your dream once you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Very few people can do everything and once you know what your weaknesses are, let others help you in those areas. The greatest leaders know what they do best and stick to doing those things. By empowering others around you, you’re also giving others a chance to succeed as well. If you do something really well, do it and let the other stuff go. If you can’t afford to pay someone to help you, ask a friend or colleague and exchange services instead of money to help each other out.
6. It’s Never Too Late to Start
Many people tackle career changes later in life, and that’s a good thing. There is a season for everything and if you find you’re unfulfilled in one area, try something in another area. While I would have loved to have invented Instagram in my 20’s, I know that wasn’t my path and that I’m called to do something else. We can sit around and wish we had done bigger and better things or we can get out there and start doing them now! It’s never too late to start dreaming and chasing those dreams!
7. Give Back and Help Others
There is a lot we can accomplish single handedly and collectively. Create a legacy with your skills and talent not just by achieving your dreams, but by giving back and helping others along the way. I created Righteous Threads apparel (RighteousThreads.org) to give back and help two different missions groups feed children. Every time we sell a shirt, we donate 10% back to give a needy child a meal. While it’s a small thing, it’s something that can grow and multiply over the years.
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With more than 20 years of apparel experience working on great brands like Hue, Spanx, Hanes, Wrangler and Sevenly, Melody has a passion for fashion. Since she was a little girl, she has loved playing dress up and creating beautiful things. Wanting to use that passion for good, Melody wanted to create a fun fashion brand called Righteous Threads (RighteousThreads.org) that has a purpose. While attending Liberty University, she felt a call to women's ministry and loves encouraging women to be their best in their lives. Melody created Righteous Threads to help those in need. Every time a shirt is sold, roughly 10% is donated to one of a few select charities to provide meals for hungry children. She can be reached at Melody@righteousthreads.org.